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Indigenous astronaut shares space with students at CMHR Schools in 15 remote, northern communities to join virtual session

A smiling man in an astronaut suit.

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News release details

Students will get up close with the world’s first Indigenous NASA astronaut tomorrow at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) during a day-long youth event.

Commander John Herrington, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, will share his inspirational story onsite at the Museum with 150 Grade 8 to 10 students from Winnipeg and the Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation, travelling from their community near Swan River, Manitoba.

He then connects via two-way video technology with young people in 15 remote and northern communities* across Canada from Nunavut to the Yukon, the largest virtual session ever held by Connected North – an initiative designed to foster student engagement and enhanced education outcomes in remote Indigenous communities.

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Dr. Herrington spent 13 days, 18 hours and 47 minutes in space in 2002, taking his tribe’s flag to the International Space Station. His sessions with students are supported by a partnership between the CMHR and Information and Communication Technologies Association Manitoba (ICTAM) as part of DisruptED, an annual conference presented by RBC Future Launch about the future of work and technology.

WHAT – Indigenous astronaut speaks with students onsite and online

WHEN – Thursday, January 31
 Onsite talk at 12:30 p.m.
 Interview opportunity at 1:30 p.m.
 Virtual session with northern students at 2:15 p.m.

WHERE – CMHR, 85 Israel Asper Way
 Access through Group Entrance

During the morning, teams of students will participate in an Instagram challenge to post content promoting human rights messages. The program shows how social media can build empathy, spark change and create active global citizens.

At 1:30 p.m., the event continues with Hannah Taylor of the Ladybug Foundation, who began raising funds for and awareness of homelessness at the age of seven. Her foundation has contributed to more than 60 shelters, food banks and missions across Canada.

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The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the only museum in the world to explore human rights as an aspiration for all people. Using innovative approaches to storytelling, the Museum creates inspiring encounters with human rights for all ages and abilities, in a visitor experience unlike any other. 

ICTAM is a not-for-profit, membership-based association representing a wide range of Manitoba companies that have a strong technology component to their business. Members include private industry, government, education, chambers of commerce and sector councils. ICTAM’s goal is to significantly grow the ICT sector in Manitoba by helping companies acquire experienced tech talent and by facilitating growth through international business.

Connected North is a leading-edge program managed by TakingITGlobal that delivers immersive and interactive education services through Cisco's high-definition, two-way TelePresence video technology. The program is made possible through a strong ecosystem of supporters. It aims to increase youth empowerment in school and life by providing students and their teachers with access to engaging, innovative content.

*Schools participating in the virtual session are:

  • Qitiqliq Middle School (Arviat, Nunavut)
  • Mine Centre Public School (Ontario)
  • Bernard Constant Community School (James Smith Cree Nation, Saskatchewan)
  • Fort Frances High School (Ontario)
  • Simon Alaittuq (Rankin Inlet, Nunavut)
  • Cadotte Lake School (Woodland Cree First Nation, Alberta)
  • Killinik High School (Cambridge Bay, Nunavut)
  • Jonah Amitnaq Secondary School (Baker Lake, Nunavut)
  • Deh Gáh School (Fort Providence, Northwest Territories)
  • Keewaywin School (Keewaywin First Nation, Ontario)
  • Victoria Linklater Memorial School (North Spirit Lake First Nation, Ontario)
  • Ghùch Tlâ Community School (Carcross, Yukon)
  • Francine J Wesley Secondary School (Kashechewan First Nation, Ontario)
  • Deer Lake School (Deer Lake First Nation, Ontario)
  • Sioux North High School (Sioux Lookout, Ontario)

Media contacts

Maureen Fitzhenry

Nicole Harris